Whether your event attendees are tuning in from home or they’re on-site at your venue, attendee engagement is paramount to your event’s success!
Attendee and audience engagement can look different depending on the structure of your event. Polls, Q&A, push notifications, and surveys are just a few ways to keep attendees interacting with each other, sponsors, and your event content.
Games Boost Event Engagement
One of our favorite attendee engagement strategies is gamification. Why? Gamification adds an element of fun and excitement to all event formats. With some friendly competition and a bit of creativity, attendees can get fully immersed in an event through a game!
The magic of events is their ability to bring people together and inspire them to take action–– games help you do both.
We spoke with Maria Cauchon, Marketing Events Coordinator at Resource & Financial Management Systems (RFMS), about how RFMS has leveraged gamification as a way to promote software training, boost engagement, and increase sales.
Keep reading to find out Maria’s best tips and tricks for gamification and all that she’s learned along the way.
Ready, set, game on!
The Power of Gamification for RFMS Training Events
As the leading business management software provider for the flooring industry, RFMS hosts client training events throughout the year, using Socio’s event platform. Every two years, RFMS hosts an in-person user conference with a variety of client training sessions. Next year’s event, powered by Socio, will take place in Nashville, Tennessee.
From pre-event marketing to boosting customer sales, RFMS has mastered how to get their clients excited and ready to win!
Generating Pre-Event FOMO and Excitement with Gamification
Before RFMS’ 2020 user conference in Nashville was postponed until 2022, Maria launched a pre-event game to build anticipation among RFMS clients.
The game lasted three days and included a total of 167 trivia questions. To generate some FOMO, Maria included trivia questions about Nashville to boost client interest in attending the conference.
“I kept it really light and fun, and it went out to all of our clients with trivia about Nashville. You can just Google any of this stuff, but it was creating a little bit of awareness and excitement,” says Cauchon.
Gamification is a great way to give your sponsors some love–– and that’s just what RFMS did! Some game questions focused on the conference’s sponsors. If RFMS wanted to rack up those points, they had to visit sponsor websites to find the correct answer.
Creativity is key when crafting an immersive event game. If you’re looking for game content inspiration, don’t forget about the event basics! To increase clients’ awareness of the RFMS conference agenda and increase session registrations, Maria also incorporated game questions about the conference’s published event schedule.
Building Live Engagement with Games, Prizes, and More!
For RFMS’ in-person user conference in 2019, Maria opened up the game one week in advance to increase attendee engagement. This game featured a whopping 350 questions and a $500 prize awarded to the attendee with the most points! Attendees could find answers to the game by:
- Participating in a scavenger hunt throughout the event space’s ballrooms, break out rooms, and hallways
- Visiting and engaging with sponsor booths
- Paying close attention to announcements displayed in the Socio Platform
- Answering questions related to the RFMS suite of products
“I had 350 questions in that game and nightly, I had to go back to my room and think of more because [the attendees] were keeping up with me and they could come up to me every day and say, ‘You have to post more because I need to get in the front! I need to get back on the leaderboard!’,” says Cauchon.
Boosting Customer Sales with Gamification
As Director of Marketing at RFMS in 2019, Maria ran the RFMS Fall Olympics to increase customer awareness of RFMS’ full suite of modules and services.
The game included advanced software questions, some of which could only be answered by watching RFMS’ software tutorials or recorded webinars. This helped promote awareness of the company’s vast library of training and support options.
“They really had to watch and read the content. That did two things: increase the awareness of our library of training support options and then it also made [our customers] better users,” says Cauchon.
To level up attendee engagement, some questions required clients to call their Client Success Manager (CSM). This helped clients access game codes and allowed RFMS CSMs to have an additional touch point with their clients.
When it came time for prizes, Maria learned a valuable lesson: attendees are oftentimes more driven by a cash prize than free products.
With a cash prize at stake, RFMS customers were fully engaged in the event. The best part? RFMS’ game event paid off, and the company increased their ancillary product sales with existing customers.
Gamification for Team Building and Training Through Remote Work
During the pandemic, the RFMS team experienced an abrupt transition to remote work. To keep everyone engaged and connected during lockdown, Maria launched the RFMS Olympics using the Socio Platform.
Would you be able to identify your team members based on their baby pictures? Team RFMS can! Before the RFMS Olympics launched, staff sent their baby pictures to Maria, so she could share them to Socio’s Social Wall along with a prompt encouraging everyone to guess which one of their team members matched their baby picture. Everyone submitted their guesses in the chat and Maria awarded points to the first person to guess correctly.
The game was a hit! Maria repeated the same game concept featuring a variety of challenges. Leading up to the game, she asked the RFMS team to submit fun facts about themselves ranging from hobbies to accomplishments.
“That was a lot of fun. We also did that with pets and trivia, you know, like who actually marched in the million dollar band for the Alabama football team? No one knew that someone who works at RFMS did that!,” says Cauchon.
Once Maria posted the fun facts via Socio’s Social Wall, RFMS staff could message each other through the event app and ask if they guessed correctly. While the RFMS couldn’t be together in-person, the event game helped team members across the company stay connected.
Who says training can’t be fun, too? Maria also used Socio’s gamification feature as an educational tool by including questions related to RFMS’ products.
Key Takeaways from RFMS’ Gamification Examples
Maria’s gamification efforts paid off by engaging event attendees and supporting RFMS’ business objectives–– the perfect combination of gamification success! Maria is a gamification wizard, so of course we asked her what she learned and what she has in store for the RFMS Owner and Education Conference in 2022.
Prepare Plenty of Content
When your attendees are as enthusiastic about your event game as RFMS customers and staff, Maria says that having plenty of content prepared is key.
As she crafts a game, Maria breaks out the content into different categories based on what RFMS wants their attendees to get out of the content or where they want to direct attendees throughout the event.
In addition to content on software knowledge, sponsors, and event information, Maria says it’s important to sprinkle in the “fun stuff” such as event location trivia to keep the game entertaining.
“I think that we’re all a little competitive. Maybe we don’t want to admit it as much sometimes, but that’s what I find really gets people into it. Especially if you keep it light and funny and have some humor with it,” says Cauchon.
Motivating Event Attendees: It’s in the Prizes
Across RFMS’ internal and external event games, competition and prizes are what keep attendees vying to stay at the top of the leaderboard. Cauchon says the key to motivating attendees is securing top notch prizes.
For RFMS’ upcoming 2022 user conference in Nashville, Cauchon is already brainstorming creative game prizes including local tourism passes to get customers excited about visiting Nashville.
Many event organizers motivate their attendees to participate in the game by offering prizes, typically to the person (or people) who make it highest on the leaderboard by a certain cut-off time. Here are some prize ideas:
- Have a grand prize for the person who is at top of the leaderboard, whether $100 gift card or another item of value
- Have smaller prizes for the next 5, 10, etc. on the leaderboard
- Host a random drawing for one or more prizes selected from the top 50, 100, etc on the leaderboard
- If your events are ticketed, offer free passes or discounts to a the top X people on the leaderboard
- Use a swag or gifting vendor like Postal.io to send a fun package or branded or thematic gifts as rewards
Bring Your Event Game to Life with Socio
Socio is your end-to-end event management system built with endless engagement features including robust gamification capabilities.
Build Anticipation & Drive Participation
Start simple: reward your attendees for what they would typically do at an event such as checking in. Next up, direct that excitement toward challenges that drive sponsor engagement, survey participation, session attendance, and other ROI-positive behaviors, such as:
- Booth visits to obtain secret codes
- Scavenger hunts to find hidden items
- Social challenges to drive connections
Leading up to Socio’s webinar, ‘The Fun Starts Here: How to amaze, delight, and engage your event attendees,’ we hosted a contest open to the public to submit their best and favorite event engagement ideas.
A total of 20 winners – 10 in each category – were announced during the webinar, and webinar attendees voted (via a Socio poll) for the audience choice grand prize winner. To access the full list of winners, register for the on-demand experience here.
Visualize the Game Experience
Take gamification to another level by pairing your event app with Socio’s Live Display. Put your branded content on every screen around your venue and watch competition grow among your attendees!
Attendee Drawings: A New Era of Giveaways
Keep energy and excitement pulsing through your event with Socio’s attendee drawing feature. It automatically generates and spins attendees’ names, so the crowd sees the prize winner in real-time!
See Socio’s gamification feature in action. Schedule a personalized demo today with our team of Socio Experts!
Are you ready to put the FUN in your event? Check out our webinar, “The Fun Starts Here: How to amaze, delight, and engage your event attendees!” which has some great on-demand content on all things event engagement!